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Queens Chronicle

18 indicted in Mafia racket sweep

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Posted: Friday, May 13, 2016 2:10 pm

Eighteen people, including four Queens residents, have been charged with federal racketeering offenses in what U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara and NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton are calling a serious blow to the Genovese organized crime family.

Bharara, in a statement issued by his office, said 13 of the arrests took place Thursday. All but one of those charged were in custody as of Thursday afternoon.

“Today’s charges show that the mob continues to wreak havoc in our communities, including through a recent murder conspiracy, attempted murder, and extortion,” Bharara said. “With today’s charges, we strike an important blow against the Genovese Crime Family. Whether you are an old school made member of the mob or a young street criminal looking to join it, the message today is clear: the life of a mobster is a dead-end street that ends nowhere good.”

Bratton said while the Mafia may be diminished in strength, it is not dead.

“This racket was as old as La Cosa Nostra,” Bratton said. “From murder for hire to extortion and gambling, there wasn’t a scheme that was off limits to these soldiers and associates of the Genovese family.”

The multiyear investigation included the FBI and Nassau County Police Department.

“Today’s arrests send a strong message that we are disrupting organized crime in New York,” Nassau District Attorney Madeline Singas said. “The allegations against some of the defendants — including conspiracy to commit murder, racketeering and gambling —  are very serious, and we will continue our joint efforts to dismantle these violent criminal enterprises.”

Those charged include Robert DeBello, 74, of Whitestone, and Steven Pastore, 56, of Staten Island, both alleged to be soldiers in the Genovese family; and Ryan Ellis, 34, of Bayside, and Salvatore Delligatti, 40, of Oakland Gardens, alleged to be family associates.

Others included Luigi Romano, 38, of Whitestone; Luigi Caminiti, 35, of Whitestone; Bertram Duke, 48, of New York City; Tyrone McCallum of the Bronx; Marcus Grant, 27, of the Bronx; Sharif Brown, 31; of the Bronx; Scott Jacobson, 31, of Old Bethpage, LI; Frank Celso, 50, of West Hempstead, LI; Joseph Tedesco, 44, of Brooklyn; Michael Vigorito, 35, of Massapequa, LI; Mick Sokol, 41, of Brooklyn; Spyro Antonakopoulos,31, of Elmont, LI; Michael Karnback, 43, of Brooklyn; and Jonathan Desimone, 34, of Huntington, LI.

“The crimes of extortion for so-called ‘protection,’ illegal gambling businesses, and conspiracy to commit murder are woven into the history of organized crime families,” said Diego Rodriguez, assistant director in charge of the New York Field Office of the FBI.

“But so are the federal racketeering charges that wise guys face after committing those criminal activities,” he added.

Authorities said DeBello, Pastore, Ellis and Delligati were charged with racketeering conspiracy, with DeBello, Ellis and Delligatti charged with conspiracy to commit murder and attempted murder in aid of racketeering activity.

Romano, Duke, McCallum, Grant, Brown and Delligatti have been charged with conspiracy to commit murder for hire. All five also were hit with a firearm-related charge, as were DeBello and Ellis.

Bharara’s office said the firearms charges carry a maximum penalty of life in prison, with the remaining charges carrying between five and 20 years.

DeBello, Pastore, Ellis, Delligatti, Caminiti, Jacobson, Celso, Tedesco, Vigorito, Sokol, Antonakopoulos, Karnback and DeSimone allegedly participated in an illegal gambling business.

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